A thumbs up show. The best match was Kushida vs O'Reilly. The worst match was the opening tag.
That was a great camera shot with Liger going for the surfboard. Taguchi is going to buried in the Observer awards this year. Tanaka's delayed German was awesome. Pretty nothing match though. 1 1/2*
Owens vs Tiger Mask
I thought Tiger Mask was the wrestler who did the least in the tourney.Owens should get away from the Tyson Kidd look since Tyson smokes him as a wrestler. Tiger Mask going after the leg was solid stuff. Overall another match that was just there. 2*
Cavenario vs Dorada
I'm hoping for a potential show stealer here. Already loving the comedy with the ref. Both guys worked hard all tourney. These guys are working their asses off here. they're cutting a hot pace. Dorada runs off 2 amazing spots including an ACH dive. They're busting out highspots, but they're selling . Man Dorada blows that spot at the finish and takes the sails out of a killer match. 3 1/4*
Fish vs Baretta
Baretta's opening sequence was fun. Fish's heat has a snugness to it. It's very crisp. Loving fish attacking the leg. Baretta's selling of the double stomp. Great counter of the heel hook by Baretta. A really great match. 3 1/2*
Nick Jackson vs Rocky Romero
Some shenanigans to start. Nick heeling it up. Romero with a rana to start a comeback that is shut down momentarily with a superkick. Rocky with a top rope Fujiwara. Some back and forth. Jackson takes control with a swanton. Back and forth again. Romereo's Sliced Bread #2 on the floor was cool. This just isn't resonating. Both guys are being a little too cute for my taste. Lack of structure hurt it in my eyes. Way too many teases of control segments that never happened. 2*
YUJI NAGATA & MANABU NAKANISHI & DAVID FINLAY VS. SATOSHI KOJIMA & HIROYOSHI TENZAN & TOMOAKI HONMA
I haven't missed Nakanishi at all. Though Honma can work the headbutt spot with a broom. They isolate Finlay and work him over. Now the other side isolate Tenzan and work over his knee. A Nagata and Tenzan fight for a bit. Kojima is in and lights Nagata up. Kojima is a good hot tag here. Nagata with an Exploder into the dead man's arm bar. It's broken up. Honma is in control for a sec. Kind of what you expect. Finlay showed he belonged here. 2 1/2
KAZUCHKA OKADA & GEDO VS. YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & CODY HALL
The Bullet Club is working over Gedo. Hall working good big man spots. Hall's punch looked nasty. This is a southern tag with a short shine, heat segment on Gedo, comeback, cut off, small heat segment on Okada, comeback again. Finish. Really basic stuff.Neither of the Bullet Club members are actively good right now so the heat segments were pretty pedestrian. 2*
SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & TOMOHIRO ISHII & TORU YANO & KAZUSHI SAKURABA & YOSHI-HASHI VS. HIROSHI TANAHASHI & TOGI MAKABE & HIROOKI GOTO & KATSUYORI SHIBATA & CAPTAIN NEW JAPAN
Yano being a total pussy to start. The 10 man tag is such a huge NJPW trope. Nice opening exchange on who the bid dog is between Ishii and Makabe. Same pair offs as usual. It breaks down in Tulsa. Yano takes off the padding. This match is as predictable as a Lethal heat segment. We get a small Tanahashi as FIP segment. The beginning is typical, but then they kick it up a notch. Goto is running wild. The Nakamura/Goto sequence is pretty great. I will say though they've done a good job keeping the mediocre workers activity to a minimum. The pairing off segments have some meat to them. Fuck they all feed to Captain NJ like he's Dusty Rhodes. I loved this match and it built and built into this great dramatic match . How cool would it be to introduce a new new baby face under the Captain NJ mask scoring a pinfall in something like this .Everyone had their working shoes on. Anyways 4*
Kushida vs O'Reilly
O'Reilly really has an opportunity to show a huge audience what a great worker he is. Kushida reminds me a lot of Rey Jr. I think besides Nakamura, Kushida is a guy who could get over huge in the States. We're mat wrestling to start. The struggle here is well done. O'Reilly going after the arm, and he's bringing new stuff to the dance here. O'Reilly is really torturing him on the mat. Kushida is doing his part selling underneath. Kushida after the arm. Kushida mounts a comeback. Going after Kyle's arm, reversal. Front guillotine by Kyle. Kushida reverses. Kyle with a flying arm breaker from the top. Kushida with a German than a Dragon Suplex. Kushida again ripping at the arm. Kyle counters with a sleeper. Flip dive by Kushida. Holy Moly Kushida does a moonsault into a triangle. Everything goes back to the arm. Kyle with a belly to back suplex from the top. A strike exchange that leads to some suplex throw by Kyle. The drama here is off the charts. Both wrestlers are just bringing it. Look at these guys selling the arms. Kushida with a vertical suplex on the apron. Fish has been a great 2nd. What a match. My complaint is they could have wrapped it up between 3-5 earlier. 4 1/4*
Plus the moment with Liger and Kushida post match was touching.
I thought Tiger Mask vs. Chase Owens was a dud, it was definitely the worst match on the card.
The main event however was spectacular, the match would definitely get a ***** rating from me. It had great pacing, ups, downs, not too fast, not too slow. Not too many high spots, which allowed these young men to really show off their technical wrestling ability. The mat wrestling was great, submissions left and right, armbars, kneebars, kimuras, guillotines etc. My final point was the selling, those guys sold their asses off, I was in a VOIP with some friends watching the match, it was 7am for some of us and 7pm for others, and there were points in the match where the room was silent, not because of boredom, but because we were on the edge of our seats observing the spectacle of these athletes putting it all on the line for our entertainment. It was a 30 minute epic that ended in a payoff of working an arm in Kushida's favor.
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Best match: KUSHIDA VS Kyle O'Reilly
Worst match: Chase Owens vs Tiger Mask IV
The first three matches were pure filler. Fish vs Barreta was solid but didn't really kick into a high gear. Romero vs N. Jackson was fun and entertaining and was a smart choice due to their chemistry and familiarity with each other.
Tenzan, Kojima & Honma vs Nagata, Nakanishi & Finlay was fine and
the multi-man pre-main was the usual set up for upcoming title matches that had a frenetic final five which really got the crowd pumping before the main.
My word, what a main event. It was a great story with a variety of styles used that was worthy of headlining any PPV. KUSHIDA and O'Reilly made winning the BOSJ look like the most important thing on the face of the earth. Go out of your way to see this match.
UFC FN 68
Beyond thumbs. All time short list. Amazing. This is the 11th good UFC card in a row. This is as far as quality already the best year in UFC history, regardless of whatever the deal is with ratings and buys.
Best fight: Ortega-Tavares, FotY so far, and also all time short list
Worst fight: nothing even close
Best performance: Ortega and Tavares
Worst performance: Boetsch, unless you count Rothwell's stupid scripted heel promo
Jose Quinones takes a couple of kicks from Leonardo Morales, works his way to a TD and then to RNC for the tap midway through the 1st. Great fight, FotN most nights, between Jake Collier and Ricardo 'Demente' Abreu and if I ever saw a draw, this was it. Anything from 30-30 to 30-27 either way is possible. Every round was that close. They slugged it out in the final seconds like the boxers from the '50s and '60s used to. It's 29-28 split Collier.
Another outstanding fight as Justin Edwards dominates the 1st and early 2nd, then Joe Proctor comes on and puts Edwards out with the inverted grip Guillotine, setup by a knee to the body, with 2 seconds left in the fight. Chris Wade dominates Cristos Giagos, who keeps coming even after looking broken. Close 1st, then Wade took over. 29-28 or 30-27, and it's 2 from Column A, one from Column B. Omari Akhmedov kicks the crap out of Brian Ebersole's stupid 'hairrow' and more importantly his leg and Ebersole quits in the corner after the 1st. In a fight which somewhat amazingly goes into the 2nd, Shawn Jordan takes Derrick Lewis down 3 times in the 1st but gets busted up. Lewis is gassed. Jordan knocks him down with a hook kick to the head (this is a guy who walks around about 300---both of them are) early in the 2nd, takes back and pounds till the ref steps in.
Cisco Rivera, still smarting over the ripoff loss to Faber (funny how Cisco gets poked in the eye and it blinds the referee), flattens Bruce Leroy in a hurry with an overhand right left hook and follows up and that's that. Major puncher. The left hook was a total arm punch. 21s. Alex sporting a nice 'fro though. Cisco should get a rematch with Faber.
Anthony Birchak doesn't take that much longer to drop Joe Soto twice, the second time for the clean KO. Well, 1:16 longer. Birchak vs. Cisco wouldn't be a bad idea either.
OFF THE CHART fight. Heavily favored Thiago Tavares dominates position but Brian Ortega does far more damage from the bottom and hits the showstopping moves, dropping Tavares early in the 2nd with a spinning up elbow. Very high tech grappling from both. The fight is nearly stopped after the 2nd from cuts Ortega inflicted from the bottom. Warned in his corner that he's probably two rounds down from being on the bottom, Ortega stands and trades in the 3rd and drops Tavares late in the round and finishes him with mount and G&P. This fight had everything.
Yancy Medeiros missed weight by 3.5. Dustin Poirier getting by far the biggest pop of the night. He blows Medeiros away, dropping him twice early, takes back and body tri but Medeiros fights off the choke and escapes, then Poirier blasts him again for another KD, lands a big liver kick and then traps him on the cage and flurries till the ref steps in.
A couple minutes in, Matt Mitrione shoots in and Ben Rothwell whizzers and grabs a Guillotine on the way up and Mitrione taps in like .05 seconds. Rothwell then proceeds to cut the stupidest promo in MMA history. Matt may be a great athlete but he's just not a fighter.
Tim Boetsch looks twice Dan Henderson's size but it doesn't matter as he walks straight in with his hands down right into a right hand almost immediately and it's over a knee and a few punches later. 28s. If that's how he trained to avoid the right hand I'd hate to see if he didn't. Beyond belief. You're fighting Dan Henderson and you walk straight in with your hands down in the first 10 seconds. Hendo can win fights till he's 90 if the other guy does that.
I gave the main card a huge thumbs up
Best Fight: Thiago Tavares vs. Brian Ortega
Worst Fight: none on the main card
Best Performances: how do you pick the bonuses tonite? It is a tossup with all those finishes. Dan Henderson, Dustin Poirier, Brian Ortega
Another night of upsets and all of these fights except Tavares vs Ortega were so short what can you say but wow! Dominant performances all around.
Thiago Tavares vs. Brian Ortega was a great war. If Ortega didn’t stop him it would have been interesting to see how the judges scored this. Volume and control vs damage.
Gotta love Hendo!
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